Dubai Alex Block/Unsplash

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed an agreement on Sunday with the General Civil Aviation Authority, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Joby Aviation and Skyports Infrastructure to launch an aerial taxi service by 2026.

The agreement, which came ahead of the World Governments Summit (WGS), was signed under the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

The signing ceremony was also witnessed by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council as well as Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA.

With this agreement, Dubai will be the first city in the world to have a commercial city-wide electric aerial taxi service and vertiport network.

The Joby Aviation S4 aircraft can accommodate four passengers and one pilot. It comes with four battery packs and six propellers, helping to cover 161 kilometers (km) distance with a top speed of 321 km per hour.

Under the agreement, RTA will oversee advanced air mobility services, with Joby providing an aerial ridesharing service and Skyports will design, construct and operate a network of vertiports.

During the signing ceremony, the Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Civil Aviation Authority Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri thanked all leaders in the UAE for their directives to make this project happen.

"What we are witnessing today is the latest milestone in our efforts to enhance the sector's global leadership and competitiveness. The UAE's air transport sector has taken a big leap forward at the regional and global levels by announcing the launch of the pioneering air taxi project," Al Marri said, WAM reported.

Aerial taxis provide numerous advantages, such as vertical take-off and landing, low, and zero operating emissions.

"It is set to bring about an unprecedented transformation in the country's urban transport landscape, making it more flexible and sustainable. The General Civil Aviation Authority worked in cooperation with its partners to formulate the national regulatory framework needed for the implementation of this pioneering project," he added.

Al Marri said that this new service will lay the foundation for the future infrastructure of the air transport system in urban areas and create new investment opportunities in air transport infrastructure.

Initially, the aerial taxi service will be launched at four prime locations including near Dubai International Airport, the Downtown area, Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah.